Historically, most pediatric subspecialists have conducted their clinical work in academic health centers. However, increases in the absolute numbers of pediatric subspecialists in past decades, combined with greater concentrations of children in urban and suburban settings, might result in more opportunities for pediatric subspecialists to enter private practice. Our goal was to assess the proportions of subspecialists in private practice.
We surveyed a stratified, random, national sample of 1696 subspecialists from 5 subspecialties and assessed the ownership of their current clinical practice settings.
The response rate was 77%. Two-thirds of respondents (65% [n = 705]) reported that they work in academic hospitals or outpatient clinics. Compared with other subspecialists, greater proportions of neonatologists (38% [n = 92]) and critical care physicians (19% [n = 44]) reported that they work in community hospitals. Larger proportions of cardiologists (27% [n = 58]) and gastroenterologists (24% [n = 47]) reported that they work in private outpatient practices.
There were significant proportions of pediatric subspecialists in private practice in most of the 5 subspecialties studied. Ensuring children's access to pediatric subspecialists likely will require a robust workforce in both academic and private clinical settings. Ongoing studies of the career trajectories of pediatric subspecialists with respect to their venues of practice will be essential for future workforce planning.